As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 10th of April, 2019, Chinese interest continues to grow as the Republic of Croatia and China opened a new, ambitious chapter of economic and trade relations on Wednesday, deepening their relationship even more after talks between the two prime ministers who both considered the talks to be a “fruitful turnaround”.
Relations between Zagreb and Beijing initially reached a higher level after the Chinese company China Road and Bridge Corporation was chosen as the much anticipated Pelješac bridge builder.
The two countries readily signed six agreements, which cover the segments of rail, agriculture, digital technology and tourism. Four more will be signed on Thursday and Friday down in Dubrovnik at the 16 + 1 summit.
“We have signed a memorandum on a much more serious, transparent and easier cooperation between companies, on the transfer of capital from China to Croatia, as well as a two-way transfer, and the possibility of capital from Croatia being invested in China. This opens up the possibility of trust and a much stronger and more serious transfer, investing and manufacturing, and we’ve been able to talk about other large-scale structuring projects, especially given the fact that a Chinese company is building Pelješac bridge,” said Croatian Economy Minister Darko Horvat for RTL.
He also noted that at this point in time, Croatia has a bilateral economic exchange with China which is somewhere close to the level of a billion euros, in a much larger deficit on the Croatian side.
Horvat also confirmed that Chinese companies are offering to be the ones to construct the Rijeka-Zagreb line.
“This project has to happen, the Chinese side has shown its interest. Whether that is going to come in the shape of a long-term concession agreement or in another model… Minister [Oleg] Butković is engaged in very intensive negotiations [on that matter] at the moment,” stated Horvat.
In conversation with RTL, Horvat also revealed that they now have a clear signal that there is interest from the Chinese side to invest in Croatia’s burdened shipyards, Uljanik and 3 Maj, in Pula and Rijeka.
“The real conversations are just starting, and I’m sure we will have some concrete figures tomorrow,” he added briefly.
When asked whether or not Chinese could end up becoming the strategic partner needed to finally save Uljanik, the economy minister simply said that nobody was trying to hide the fact that the Chinese had been called upon.
Make sure to follow our dedicated business and politics pages for more information on the blossoming China-Croatia relations, why some remain suspicious, why the European Commission has raised its eyebrows at the fact that a Chinese company is building a bridge funded primarily with EU money, and much more.